Author: 
Abigail Hedglen and Sarah Ilgenfritz, SK Partnership for Prevention

Two Youth Share Their CADCA Mid-Year Training Institute Experience

The CADCA Mid-Year Training Institute was a very productive and fun week. We didn’t know what to expect, but the training sessions ended up being super fun and hands-on. In our first training session, they had us get into groups by age and share a little about ourselves so we could get to know each other. We also did a lot of team-building and sharing that helped us open up to one another and prepare for the week ahead. Not only did we have a lot of fun with our fellow youth by playing games and dancing, but we also learned how to use the tools necessary to complete the Strategic Prevention Framework.

Each day, we dove deeper into a plan specific to our community, and that’s what we loved about this training. The training allowed us to leave with a plan for our community and the confidence to make change happen. We created a strategic plan about underage drinking in South Kingstown, RI that we were able to share in front of a room of people and get feedback from the trainers. The trainers were spectacular in that they answered all of our questions and had great insight for our plan.

Every presenter we watched used data to back up the points they were trying to make. They showed us how to use statistics to show change in our community. We were also lucky enough to meet with Arilea Fernandez, the Youth Leadership Director at CADCA, who directed us on how to take our leadership to the next level. At night, we had the privilege of going to a medicine training class where we learned how to teach med-safety to children.

Another part of the training that we loved was getting to work with other youth and having the opportunity to get to know them on a personal level. It’s not every day you meet people your age with the same mindset and the same goals. At CADCA, we met many motivated people from all over the country. It was such a positive experience to be around people who want to make change in their communities. Going to trainings like these empowers youth. You look around and see a room full of people who are working with you to make the world a healthier place and that’s life-changing. For anyone that is looking to take it a step further after Forum or just learn how to take action in your community, the CADCA Mid-Year training is what you are looking for. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to attend the 2017 CADCA Mid-Year Training Institute and we look forward to passing on what we learned to others in our community and beyond.